Photo of Amanda Johnsen

Amanda Johnsen

Assistant Professor


  • Nuclear Engineering

138 Breazeale Nuclear Reactor Building





Amanda Johnsen holds the Bryant Early Career Assistant Professorship in the Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering. Johnsen was previously a research associate at the Penn State Radiation Science and Engineering Center, where she researched isotope production and purification methods; applied neutron activation analysis to environmental, archaeological, and engineering projects; and taught two radiochemistry courses. She was a postdoctoral associate at the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where she researched novel used nuclear fuel dissolution processes, medical isotope purification, environmental cleanup, and spectroscopic detection of used fuel solutions. As a graduate student, she performed her thesis research on neptunium precipitation chemistry at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She holds a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of California Berkeley and a B.S. in nuclear engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


  • BS, Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
  • Ph D, Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2008


Journal Articles

  • George M Jacobsen, Hag Choi, James A Turso, Amanda M. Johnsen, Andrew J Bascom, Xialu Wei and Eugene A Olevsky, 2022, "Fabrication and Characterization of Zirconium Silicide for Application to Gas-Cooled Fast Reactors", Nuclear Technology, 208, (1), pp. 27-36
  • Amanda M. Johnsen, Chad B. Durrant and Kenan Unlu, 2019, "Neutron activation analysis of ancient Italian tile samples", Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 322, pp. 1529-1535
  • Maksat Kuatbek, Amanda M. Johnsen and Kenan Unlu, 2019, "Characterization of soil, sediment, and wastewater samples from hydraulic fracturing processes using the comparative NAA method", Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 322, pp. 1563-1570
  • Travis L Tasker, William D Burgos, Moses A Ajemigbitse, N E Lauer, A Gusa, Maksat Kuatbek, D May, J D Landis, D S Alessi, Amanda M. Johnsen, J Kaste, K Headrick, F DH Wilke, M McNeal, M Engle, A Jubb, R Vidic, A Vengosh and Nathaniel R. Warner, 2019, "Accuracy of methods for reporting inorganic element concentrations and radioactivity in oil and gas wastewaters from the Appalachian Basin, U.S. based on an inter-lab comparison", Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, 21, (2), pp. 224-241
  • Amanda M. Johnsen and Kenan Unlu, 2018, "Neutron Activation Analysis Capabilities and Applications at the Radiation Science and Engineering Center at Penn State", Forensic Chemistry, 7, pp. 56-64
  • Yi Shi, Amanda M. Johnsen and Anthony Di Pasqua, 2017, "Holmium for Use in Cancer Therapy", Comments on Inorganic Chemistry, 37, (6), pp. 281-300
  • Amanda M Johnsen, Brenden J. Heidrich, Chad B. Durrant, Andrew J. Bascom and Kenan Unlu, 2015, "Reactor Production of 64Cu and 67Cu Using Enriched Zinc Target Material", Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
  • Amanda M. Johnsen, C Z Soderquist, B K McNamara and D R Fisher, 2013, "A Non-Aqueous Reduction Process for Purifying 153Gd Produced in Natural Europium Targets", Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 82, pp. 158-165
  • C Z Soderquist, Amanda M. Johnsen, B K McNamara, B D Hanson, J W Chenault, K J Carson and S M Peper, 2011, "Dissolution of Irradiated Commercial UO2 Fuels in Ammonium Carbonate and Hydrogen Peroxide", Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 50, pp. 1813-1818
  • S A Bryan, T G Levitskaia, Amanda M. Johnsen, C R Orton and J M Peterson, 2011, "Spectroscopic Monitoring of Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Streams: An Evaluation of Spent Fuel Solutions via Raman, Visible, and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy", Radiochimica Acta, 99, pp. 563-571
  • Robert Eichler, N V Aksenov, Y V Albin, A V Belozerov, G A Bozhikov, V I Chepigin, S N Dmitriev, R Dressler, H W Gaggeler, V A Gorshkov, R A Henderson, Amanda M. Johnsen, J M Kenneally, V Y Lebedev, O N Malyshev, K J Moody, Y T Oganessian, Y T Petrushkin, D Piguet, A G Popeko, P Rasmussen, A Serov, D A Shaughnessy, S V Shishkin, A V Shutov, M A Stoyer, N J Stoyer, A I Svirikhin, E E Tereshatov, G K Vostokin, M Wegrzecki, P A Wilk, D Wittwer and A V Yeremin, 2010, "Indication for a Volatile Element 114", Radiochimica Acta, 98, pp. 133-139

Conference Proceedings

  • Susanna B Angermeier, Maksat Kuatbek and Amanda M. Johnsen, 2021, "Characterization of the Penn State Breazeale Reactor Core Facing Irradiation Fixture", Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, 125, (1), pp. 374-377
  • Branko Kovacevic, Andre A Vidal Soares, William Walters, Azaree Lintereur, Benjamin Betzler, Louise Evans, Michael Dion, Nathan Shoman and Amanda M. Johnsen, 2021, "Gamma-ray signatures for identifying plutonium content changes in Molten Salt Reactors", Proceedings of the INMM & ESARDA Joint Virtual Annual Meeting, pp. 10
  • Maksat Kuatbek, Bruce D Pierson, Stephanie M Lyons and Amanda M. Johnsen, 2021, "Characterization of the Fast Neutron Irradiator and the Fast Flux Tube Irradiation Fixtures at the Pennsylvania State Breazeale Reactor", Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, 125, (1), pp. 378-381
  • Andre Vidal Soares, Azaree Lintereur, Benjamin R. Betzler, Amanda M. Johnsen, Joshua D Flygare, Louise G Worrall and William J Walters, 2020, "Nuclear data uncertainty challenges in Molten Salt Reactor safeguards", Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, 123, pp. 4
  • Marc A Wonders, Amanda M. Johnsen, Candace C Davison, S Cheng, David L Chichester and Marek Flaska, 2018, "Assessment of Modern Silicon Photomultiplier Radiation Hardness in a Nuclear Security Context", 2018 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference, NSS/MIC 2018 - Proceedings, IEEE
  • Amanda M. Johnsen, 2013, "Characterization of Italian Tile Samples Using Comparative Neutron Activation Analysis", Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, 109, (1), pp. 71-73
  • Amanda M. Johnsen, S A Bryan, T G Levitskaia, C Z Soderquist and J M Peterson, 2009, "On-line Process Monitoring of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Solutions", Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, 101, (1), pp. 335-336
  • S A Bryan, T G Levitskaia, A M Lines, J M Billing, A J Casella, Amanda M. Johnsen, J M Peterson and E M Thomas, 2009, "On-line Monitoring for Control and Safeguarding of Radiochemical Streams at Spent Fuel Reprocessing Plants", Proceedings of the 2nd Japan-IAEA Workshop on Advanced Safeguards Technology for the Future Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Tokai-mura, Ibaraki, Japan, November 10–13, 2009.
  • S A Bryan, T G Levitskaia, A J Casella, Amanda M. Johnsen and J M Peterson, 2009, "On-Line Monitoring for Control and Safeguarding of Radiochemical Streams at Spent Fuel Reprocessing Plant", Proceedings of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management: 50th Annual Meeting, Tucson, AZ, July 12–16, 2009.


  • Eric Schwarz, Walter, Amanda M. Johnsen, William J Walters and Jeffrey Geuther, 2020, "Development of low-cost 7Be standards using a university research reactor"

Research Projects

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Performance Award, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, July 2011
  • Graduate Student Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2003 - 2006
  • Public Policy and Nuclear Threats Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2004
  • Roy Oxford Award, MIT Nuclear Engineering Department, 2000


Service to Penn State:

Service to External Organizations:




The Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the top ranked nuclear engineering programs in the United States. The department distinguishes itself with a strong focus on experimental research. The actively growing department leads four educational programs for students pursuing a bachelor of science, a master of science, a master of engineering, or a doctoral degree. The Radiation Science and Engineering Center (RSEC) facilities, including the Breazeale Reactor, are available to nuclear engineering faculty and students at Penn State for research and instruction. RSEC houses the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, the country’s first and longest operating licensed nuclear research reactor. Having access to an operating research reactor is a key strength for the department and enables Penn State to harness research and educational opportunities that are unique in the United States. See how we’re inspiring change and impacting tomorrow at

Department of Nuclear Engineering

206 Hallowell Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6222